As promised last month, throughout December I’ll be re-reading the Star Wars: Legacy comics series from Dark Horse, published between 2006 and 2010, with an eleventh volume that ran into 2011. I first read these books about two years into the run, so had a decent number of issues to sink my teeth into.
The story was quite controversial at the time, being pushed so far into the future of the expanded universe – the first arc, Broken, starts in 130ABY (after the Battle of Yavin) and predominantly takes place in 137ABY, while up to this point the furthest into the future we’d been was to 29ABY with the end of the New Jedi Order. A lot of people were a bit disappointed with the fact that the galaxy doesn’t feel particularly different, with having the Empire still around (and still in olive fatigues), and so on. There’s definitely merit in that argument, but it’s also only just over 100 years following the end of the Yuuzhan Vong war, and I suppose we can’t expect things to have moved on to the point where things are so unrecognizable.
There are plenty of tie-ins to the NJO here as well, as pretty much the entire foundation for the series starts with a Yuuzhan Vong terraforming project gone wrong. Let’s take a look at the background now…
The Ossus Project was an attempt to reconcile the Yuuzhan Vong with the wider galaxy by using their terraforming technology to repair the ecosystems damaged during the war. Seeing the results on Ossus, the galactic community was impressed and hundreds of worlds tried to secure the Yuuzhan Vong’s efforts. While initially things went smoothly, suddenly worlds like Wayland saw deformed plant growth, and native inhabitants began to grow spines such as had been seen during the mass slave-taking at the height of the war. While the Jedi suspected the project had been sabotaged, several hard-liners from the Empire, who had chafed under the terms of the peace brokered between Gavrisom and Pellaeon, and who wished for the Empire to once more become the main military superpower in the galaxy, declared war on the Alliance for defending the Yuuzhan Vong.
Volume One: Broken
The story begins with the attack on the Jedi Temple at Ossus. Several Sith lead the assault, killing many Jedi, including Kol Skywalker, leader of the Council and descendant of Luke Skywalker. Skywalker’s son Cade manages to escape with several apprentices, but the light of the Jedi appears to have gone out in the galaxy once more. In the Empire, it is revealed that the war was largely a success due to the intervention of the Sith, who allied with the hardcore of the Moff Council, against Emperor Fel’s wishes. The Director of Imperial Intelligence, Grand Moff Nyna Calixte, personally brought the Sith over to assist the Empire, in the hope of furthering her lover Grand Admiral Morlish Veed’s ascension to the throne. However, Darth Krayt, leader of the One Sith, murders Fel and assumes the throne, only to discover that he has in fact killed a body double. He orders Darth Talon to hunt down the real Fel, lest he form an alliance with the Jedi against him.
Seven years pass.
Cade is now working as a bounty hunter, having hidden himself from the galaxy and fallen in with his fellow hunters Jariah Syn and Deliah Blue. Collecting the bounty on a scavenger, they come across the Bothan Jedi Hossk Trey’lis, and capture him as well, taking him to Rav the pirate and go-between on the planet Socorro. Also on Socorro is Princess Marasiah Fel, whom Darth Talon has been tracking in an effort to locate her father, Roan Fel. Marasiah is able to escape the planet with a member of the Imperial Mission, Astraal Vao, on Cade’s ship the Mynock, whereupon she makes arrangements to meet with Vao’s brother on Vendaxa. There, it transpires that Vao’s brother is Shado Vao, Cade’s former Jedi classmate, who is there with Cade’s former Master, Wolf Sazen. When the Jedi’s transport is destroyed by Darth Talon, Cade ends up taking everybody to Bastion, where Roan Fel has re-established his base.
As an opening arc, this is fairly explosive, let’s be honest! I think this is probably going to be an ongoing issue with a lot of these blogs, but there is the element of all of this coming out of nowhere – we don’t get the background on the Ossus Project until well through the series, for instance.
Volume Two: Shards
The second book does begin to deepen the narrative, though, as we delve into the relationship between the Sith and the Empire, as we see the tension between Darth Maladi and Nyna Calixte. Learning that Cade is a Skywalker, the Sith have got a not insignificant interest in him. Calixte sends her own Intelligence operative to find out what is going on, and dispatches Morrigan Corde on Skywalker’s trail. However, we learn that she is none other than Cade’s mother and, working with the Sith spy Jor Torlin, they track him to Ossus but Corde kills Torlin rather than allow the Sith to discover his location.
Along the way, we meet Admiral Gar Stazi, the last surviving military leader of the Galactic Alliance. Attempts are being made to form an alliance between Stazi’s fleet and Emperor Fel, but these attempts are foiled by Corde and Torlin. We’ve not seen the end of Stazi though!
Having left Bastion without his crew, Cade has drifted to Ossus in an attempt to lose himself, and finds himself haunted by the Jedi of his past – specifically, Luke and Kol Skywalker. However, the Jedi of the present also catch up with him, Wolf Sazen and Shado Vao, and Cade realises that he must make amends for the mistakes of his past, and completes his training under his old master.
I remember the Ghosts two-parter being a real stand-out arc for me, back in the day, as it was the first time we had properly seen Yuuzhan Vong in a visual format. We start to explore the Ossus project, and the possibility that it had been sabotaged as a catalyst for war, which is good because it’s nice to get more of that depth for the story. As a bit of a blast from the past, we get to see Jedi Master K’Kruhk return from the Dark Times series – seems he’s pretty much indestructible at this point!
I have some very fond memories of reading the Legacy comics back in the day. I’d been collecting them for months, along with the Knights of the Old Republic series written by John Jackson Miller, and went away for Christmas to a small stone cottage in rural mid-Wales, where I would spend the evenings alternating my reading through the two series. I enjoyed the books when I read them at the time, but hadn’t come back to it since. Reading it now, though, I’m not sure it’s got the same appeal for me. I think, in part, it feels a bit like the comic set out wanting to tell a story about a bounty-hunting fringe type who becomes a Jedi and takes on a new army of Sith – and as a result, the setting is almost tacked on. I mean, it does tell an interesting story when it gets going, but taking such a big leap into the future of Star Wars, it needs a lot of world-building, and I don’t think it really takes enough time with this from the off.
But I’m going to go through the whole eleven-volume series, so stick with me! I should probably read more of the Legends stuff for the blog, to help all of this make sense…